Midwestern snowshoers rake in medals at U.S. championship
The 12th annual U.S. Snowshoe Association (USSSA) National Snowshoe Racing Championships took place February 25-26 in Frisco, Colorado, at 9,300 feet, the highest altitude in the event's history. Of the 181 participants from 25 states (and one from Norway), 38 of the snowshoers hailed from the Midwest.
To take part in the windy and snowy 10K championship race, snowshoers had to perform well at one or more qualifying races. The field included 11 Iowans, 10 Wisconsinites, nine Minnesotans, six Michiganders and two Illinoisians.
The nationals consisted of three separate races: juniors' 5K, women's 10K and men's 10K. There was also a citizens race 5K and a 10K four-person relay that did not require qualification. The U.S. Snowshoe Team is comprised of the top five men, top five women and top three juniors.
From the Midwest, Eric Hartmark (MN) took third overall and Scott Gall (IA) fourth overall joined Melissa Tekippe (WI), who took third among the juniors, age 15 to 19, on the national team. Tim Buerger (MI) took first overall in the 14 and under juniors division.
Other midwesterners who won gold medals at nationals in their age groups were Michayala Heil (WI, 20-24), Kelly Mortenson (MN, 40-44) and Jim Graupner (MN, 65-69). Silver medals went to Sarah Gall (IA, 30-34), Laura Plummer (WI, 40-44), Mike Cozza (IL, 25-29) and Larry Buerger (WI, 45-49). Taking home bronzes were Kristi Speer (WI, 30-34), Joli Vollers (IA, 45-49), Pam Ogden (WI, 55-59), Jacob Fortman (MI, 20-24), Ian Connor (IL, 25-29), Nate Canton (IA, 30-34), Josh Jorde ((MN, 35-39), Jim McDonell (MN, 55-59) and Jim Cihak (MI, 60-64). Katy Class (MN) also received a silver medal in her age group in the citizens 5K.
One of the most exciting events of the weekend included the Sunday morning 4-by-2.5K relay race, in which eight teams participated. The gold medal for masters men was won my midwesterners Jim Graupner (MN), Jim McDonell (MN), Rob Class (MN) and Kris Borchardt (WI). A silver medal in the mixed masters was earned by a team that included Phillip Smith (MN).
The nationals rotates every year between the four regions of east, north central, Rocky Mountains and west. Last year it was held near Cable, Wisconsin, and next year it will be held near Bend, Oregon.
The midwestern athletes at the 2012 USSSA National Snowshoe Championships included: Back row from left, Nate Canton (WI), Kris Borchardt (WI), Paul Seliger (WI) and Jim Graupner (MN); Second row, Jim Cihak (MI), Mitchell Seliger (WI), Rob Williams (IA), Bryan McCarty (IA), Lewis Benedict (IA) and Rob Class (MN); Third row, Jim McDonell (Braveheart, MN), Kristi Speer (WI), Melissa Tekippe (WI), Bonnie Nutt (WI), Michayla Heil (WI), Scott Gall (IA) and Sarah Gall (IA); Front row, Tim Buerger, Signe Buerger, Larry Buerger and Paul Buerger (all WI). Missing: Scott Vance (IA), Kelly Mortenson (MN), Phil Smith (MN), Bridget Canton (WI), Bryson Canton (WI), Eric Hartmark (MN), Mike Cozza (IL), Josh Jorde (MN), Ian Connor (IL), Jacob Fortman (MI), Austin Budlong (MN), Joli Vollers (IA), Pam Ogden (WI), Laura Plummer (WI), Tammy Domonoske (IA) and Deb Paschal (IA). PHOTO BY ADAM SPEAR
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